Margaret O'Reilly, Local Resident


With a passion for gardening that has been all consuming for the last two years Margaret O'Reilly has been instrumental in creating and transforming the look of the public open spaces around the five blocks of flats that are the Vauxhall Five estate on Kennington Lane and Vauxhall Street.

Suddenly we have interesting and wonderful looking planting all around the estates!

Highly respected and influential within our community Margaret has with great determination and skill gathered around her a team of local neighbours and residents who have all enthusiastically helped to change the landscape of the gardens around them.

Margaret came to London, from Wexford in Ireland for a "weekend trip" and ended up staying for over forty years... Fabulously friendly and still with her lilting Irish brogue intact, Margaret has been a resident on the Vauxhall Five Estate for most of those forty years. Her interest in gardening started as a child where she can remember sowing strawberries in her parents garden, in Wexford and that enthusiasm has stayed with her ever since.

The whole project started when Margaret asked her daughters to replant her living Christmas tree in an unloved patch of grass outside her front door. It was wonderful to see the local children getting involved in decorating the Christmas tree and planting new shrubs weekly.

Within the year she had help secured a small grant from  "Well London " to expand and develop her ideas to cultivate the other patches of grass around the estate. The raised beds for vegetable planting where particularly successful and neighbours and children have been very supportive and active in seeing new roses and shrubs and herbs and flowers planted in profusion.

This has really been a fantastic community project, which this spring will carry on with more planting and hopefully a bit more funding, that will let the gardening group construct a Jasmine arch, and more shrubs. This modest project has created a lot of community pride and a sense of local well being that seems set to continue to blossom and grow. 

Well done Margaret and all the other volunteers who have done such a brilliant job to brighten up our environment. The new planting is a wonderful communal effort, bringing people together, fostering the community spirit and generating a healthy competition between blocks of flats. Long may it continue!